New Zealand Resident Doctors AssociationFriday 29 October 2010, 9:42AM
Media release from New Zealand Resident Doctors
Resident doctors have declined a 2 per cent pay offer by DHBs in
return for a request for improved terms and conditions of
employment. The latest offer by DHBs to resident
doctors included a 2 per cent pay rise while negotiations
New Zealand Resident Doctors Association (NZRDA) president Dr
Curtis Walker says resident doctors have requested that the money
to go towards any proven additional costs associated with improving
existing rosters rather than a pay rise.
"The DHBs do not seem to have heard what their doctors have been
saying," Dr Walker says. "The retention of resident doctors in DHB
employment is about improving terms and conditions of employment,
not just a pay rise."
During consultation with members over the DHB offer, Dr Walker said
the feedback from some doctors went as far as suggesting that DHBS
were simply trying to "buy us off". But the consensus is that they
will not be deterred. "In an unprecedented move, the resident
doctors are requesting that the money be used to facilitate the
introduction of improved rostering practice, rather than taking the
pay rise for themselves."
Such a move would see the money go not to the doctors, but to
hospitals where improved rosters are implemented if there are
proven additional costs associated with a change for the
This would give DHBs no argument against making the working lives
of the doctors, and the care they can give to their patients
better, while at the same time improving the ability to retain
doctors in DHB employment.
"Hopefully it will give the DHBs an incentive to get on and do as
the doctors are saying is necessary."
Already improved rostering practices in Northland are having a
positive effect on resident doctor conditions of employment and in
turn, the care received by patients. "Introduced under the
previous chief executive, rostering doctors no more than ten days
in a row with four days off to recover has seen retention at
Northland DHB improve markedly along with reduced sick leave and
happier doctors. It is not rocket science to see what makes
doctors happy - that is not suffering the effects of fatigue
imposed by long stretches at work. Treating doctors well means
treating patients well."
The new proposal by NZRDA is with the DHBs for consideration.